Manchin to back nominee for public lands chief
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will vote to confirm President Biden’s nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management, the subject of increasing GOP opposition over her connection to a controversial “tree-spiking” case, his office confirmed Monday night.
A spokesperson for Manchin told The Hill he will vote yes on the confirmation of Tracy Stone-Manning, whose nomination would likely have been doomed without the West Virginia Democrat’s backing.
In the 1990s, Stone-Manning testified that she had sent a letter given to her by another activist threatening tree-spiking, in which trees intended for logging are spiked with metal rods. The tactic is intended to create potential damage to logging equipment but can lead to human injury as well.
She told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which Manchin chairs, that she had “no involvement in the spiking of trees.” In 1993 she testified that she delivered the letter “because I wanted people to know that those trees were spiked. I didn’t want anybody getting hurt as a result of trees being spiked.”
Stone-Manning has said she did not know the spiking had occurred before she was given the letter to retype.
All of the Senate panel’s 10 Republicans have called for Stone-Manning’s nomination to be withdrawn, as has Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said last week that “We now know that President Biden’s nominee to run the Bureau of Land Management lied to the Senate about her alleged participation in eco-terrorism.
However, the White House has said it stands by the nomination, telling The Hill Thursday, “Tracy Stone-Manning is a dedicated public servant who has years of experience and a proven track record of finding solutions and common ground when it comes to our public lands and waters. She is exceptionally qualified to … be the next Director of the Bureau of Land Management.”
Stone-Manning’s former boss, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), has also defended her amid the Republican calls for her withdrawal, calling the criticism “a lot of crap [that] is not correct.”